Thursday, July 16, 2009

2 June 2009 - Day 3: Sidley to Norman's Bay

3.15 p.m.
Temperature 23.1C, humidity 27%, sunny with light south-easterly wind.
O.S. Explorer Map No. 124
Distance cycled: 8.4 miles

Downhill ride from Mary's to reconnect with the Bexhill promenade where cycling is not allowed. But it's too pretty to leave, with flowers everywhere and glorious sun. But the prom ends with no path, with shingle and no clear route up to the road. But to the rescue Ray cycles up, takes his bike across 100 yards of shingle up a steep, slope and then miraculously comes back for mine.

He asks me about my ride and tells me he's survived throat cancer.

I miss my turning at Cooden Beach station, and cycle an unnecessary extra and very hilly mile. When I get to Norman's Bay station I narrowly miss getting hit by a horn-blaring express train as I struggle to get my bike through the narrow crossing gate and across the tracs. The Railtrack man could have helped but clearly feels he is not there to assist the public.

Norman's Bay is cut off from the world by the railway line which runs parallel to the shore. The houses look shabby and expensive. A glimpse of a Cristo sculpture, and then Ray cycling back again and telling me the campsite is just 10 minutes away.

The campsite is rather genteel, the staff friendly, and I get a sheltered pitch looking across at the marshes.

After dinner I go for a walk.

Fishermen and women tell me the strange object is a martello tower being privately renovated as a home.

I return to mine, and layers of clothes, sleeping bag and thermal blanket.